History and Profile of Scientex L.C.
After leaving Rockwell International and Hoechst Celanese Chemical Company, Tom and Becky Starkweather were asked to lend their expertise with friends and former co-workers on a regular basis. Tom was helping to debug programs and specify computer hardware and software for business applications. As a Registered Professional Chemical Engineer in the State of Texas, Becky assisted companies by providing expertise on process safety and plant instrumentation. As this network of people moved to different employers in different parts of the country, the demands on their time grew. They realized that they needed to form a business entity and in January 1996, Scientex L.C. was formed. Scientex L.C. was formed as a Utah Limited Liability Company.
Scientex L.C. is co-owned by Tom and Becky. The company motto has evolved from “Applying Science and Technology” to “Diverse Talents Applying Science and Technology”. The key asset for Scientex L.C. is its intellectual capital. The company has grown from offering part-time engineering expertise in the fields of chemical process safety and instrumentation to additionally providing full-time software development and project management for fluid handling equipment: pumps, control valves, relief valves, manual valves and tanks. The initial client base for consulting were petrochemical companies and equipment manufacturers and were acquired through prior working relationships, professional networking and “word of mouth” exposure.
Tom resigned his full-time position as project manager at Valtek (now Flowserve) in August 1996 to focus his efforts on Scientex L.C. The primary software client for is a major manufacturer of fluid handling equipment with 1999 sales exceeding one billion dollars. This company currently licenses the software to non-competing companies. These licensees are located in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany. Scientex L.C. provides project management of contracts and client resources in addition to software design, engineering and testing to the client and all of its licensees. Worldwide software training of employees, sales representatives and end users is another service contracted to Scientex L.C.
In addition he has worked alongside their worldwide customers and A & E partners to implement their needs into their sizing and selection software. Tom has been dispatched quarterly to Europe to incorporate products of the major client’s acquisitions into the software program. In addition, a number of European clients and licensees have spent months in the Scientex L.C. Utah home office working alongside Scientex L.C. resources.
Becky resigned her full-time career as Worldwide Sales Account Manager and Digital Products Specialist for Flowserve in September 1998 to focus on Scientex L.C. From September to December, 1998 she continued to provide technical assistance to Flowserve personnel and petrochemical customers as a gesture of professional courtesy. After a six-month of self-education and introspection, she came to the realization that she did not possess the correct skill set to “grow” the company and to develop from idea to market an innovative software product. After comparing national executive MBA programs to executive Technology Management programs she selected the Georgia Institute of Technology for her graduate studies. She began commuting to Atlanta in June 1999 to obtain her Masters Degree in Management of Technology. During the last eighteen months, she managed the business and legal aspects of Scientex while completing her degree and provided technical expertise and billable services as required. She will received her degree in December 2000 and resumed her full-time duties of business development of Scientex L.C. services and contractor management as well as consulting in chemical process engineering and design. Her primary focus will be on the development of an innovative software product for the manufacturing marketplace.
Scientex L.C. has performed software development for other companies in the field of fluid handling and instrumentation. Their core competency in the software development field is C++ and Visual Basic and they possess extensive experience with relational database management. In addition to managing contract software developers, they manage the contracts of non-core business such as technical writing and help file generation. They are expanding into the realm of data warehousing and data mining using Sybase development tools in the future after the software is more robust.
Professional affiliations include the Society of Women Engineers, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, and International Sybase Users Group. Becky is renewing her membership into Instrument Society of America. In addition, Becky continues to hold offices and serve in committees in these organizations. Her involvement in AICHE will be dramatically increasing in 2001. Locally, Scientex L.C. is recognized as a corporate sponsor of the Salt Lake Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. Active in the community, Scientex L.C. provides computer hardware and software expertise to the Utah Animal Assisted Therapy Association and annually donates to the Utah Grizzlies Children’s Charities and animal adoption agencies located in Utah and Texas
Scientex L.C. Resources
Currently, the company has no direct employees and relies on contracted resources, most of who are self-employed consultants. The extremely talented resource pool includes a firewall security tester and web developer, former full-time degreed engineers and programmers on sabbatical for family reasons, college students majoring in engineering or computer science, and people supplementing their salary. In addition to excellent team membership skills these talents were recruited based on exhibiting the four facets of intellectual capital: cognitive learning or “know what”, advanced knowledge or “know how”, system knowledge or “know why”, and motivated creativity “care why”. Each works from their home with software licenses provided to them and additional computer hardware equipment loaned to them on an “as needed” basis. Contracts are awarded incrementally and pay is based on the type of services they provide. Contracts included in the critical time path for a project usually include a time based performance incentive.
These contracted resources are located throughout the U.S. and in Canada and Great Britain with e-mail as the primary means of communication and the telephone as the secondary means. These diverse resources also provide the ideas and input to explore new business opportunities on a global basis.
In return for their services, the value added features for working with Scientex L.C. includes the increased networking of their skills, increased knowledge about science and engineering, 24/7 mentoring, availability to experience the latest in software development tools and a resource for knowledge and guidance for them to reach their individual career and life goals.
In 2002, Scientex LC was split into three additional entities: Scientex
Engineering LLC, TBS Enterprises Inc. and RB 50 Management Inc. This move was
necessitated because the company had become too diversified in its activities
and insurance premiums for the company had greatly increased due to the process
safety work. Each of the new companies formed carry forward the high standards
of workmanship and ‘People” values that were in the Scientex LC culture.
 Quinn, et. al, Managing Professional Intellect: Making the Most of the Best, Harvard Business Review, March-April 1996, pp 71-80.